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Alexis Sanchez is a £400,000 a week passenger at Manchester United — City must feel they dodged a bullet

Jose Mourinho didn’t stick around long enough after Manchester United’s latest setback to address the thorny issue of Alexis Sanchez .

Had he done so, it is likely the straight-talking Mourinho would have pulled no punches in his blunt assessment of the expensively-acquired forward’s latest dismal display.

Signed amid great fanfare and hype in January (see below), having ostensibly been snatched from under the noses of local rivals Manchester City, Sanchez has been nothing short of a let-down since his arrival.


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On wages of around £400,000-a-week, United fans are entitled to expect more from Sanchez, who has fallen well short of the imperious standards he set at Barcelona and then Arsenal, where he was unquestionably among the group of Europe’s elite players.

He has not scored for nine games (his goal drought now stands at more than 12 hours), has provided a solitary assist this season and was hooked after just 63 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Wolves — although he was so poor he was lucky to stay on that long.

Sanchez was so bad he could have been hooked before Wolves’ 53rd minute equaliser (Image: Action Images via Reuters)

The Chilean was eventually replaced by Juan Mata shortly after the hour (Image: PA Wire)

Sanchez has displaced Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial from United’s side, both having been stripped of the confidence they oozed prior to the Chile international’s much-heralded arrival.

And for what? To put one over on neighbours City?

Given Sanchez’s wretched form since he came to United, the champions must feel they dodged a bullet by deciding to end their interest in him.

Aside from isolated impressive displays in that epic 3-2 comeback win at City last season and their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham, Sanchez has been a passenger, one who has added nothing to the journey.

The £400,000 a week forward’s good games for United have been few and far between (Image: Man Utd via Getty)

Paul Pogba, United’s club record £89million signing, frustrated just like Sanchez against Wolves, producing an exquisite assist for his side’s opener but losing the ball cheaply in the build-up to the equaliser.

Pogba claimed Sanchez still needs time to adapt to his new club, although after nine months and a full summer off for the first time in seven years, the 29-year-old should by now be producing his best.

“What you have to know about Alexis is he is a hard worker,” said Pogba. “He trains very well, he always tries to help the team, talks with the team and everything. He will get used to it.

United assumed they were getting the Sanchez who was Arsenal’s star player (Image: PA)

Rashford, above, and Martial have both been marginalised since the 29-year-old joined (Image: REUTERS)

“When you play a long time with another team and you play different football in that other team you have some kind of adaptation that you have to have. It’s not that he’s playing bad.

“We know that Alexis can bring a lot and I’m sure he will. But he’s not playing bad and he keeps being positive, you know, so that’s the good thing we have to think about.”

How much longer Mourinho is prepared to wait for Sanchez to deliver is open to question.

He is almost certain to miss Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie against Derby at Old Trafford.

But Mourinho faces a big call over whether to drop Sanchez for next Saturday’s lunchtime visit to West Ham, with the likely scenario seeing United’s highest-paid player benched.

Mourinho has not been afraid to make such bold calls during his time at United, dropping Pogba for a run of games last season when the midfielder fell below the standard expected of him. Sanchez is no exception, despite his lofty reputation.

Rashford will be available after serving a three-match domestic ban, while Martial and Juan Mata give Mourinho other options.

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United took a first-half lead through Fred, who applied a clinical finish to Pogba’s deft touch to plunder his first goal for the Reds, one which looked set to yield a win for Mourinho’s men.

But Wolves, who played with confidence and verve throughout, were fully deserving of their equaliser, a sublime sweeping finish from man-of-the-match Joao Moutinho.

While Wolves continue to flourish on their return to the Premier League, United remain mired in inconsistency and muddled thinking, eight points off top spot, with a goal difference of zero and surely already out of the title race even before the leaves have fallen from the trees.

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